Spoilers for The Walking Dead Episode 8x05 follow!
While Negan and Father Gabriel were trapped in a trailer outside of the Sanctuary, being seen for the first time since the Season 8 premiere, the two characters got to know one another in a confessional style conversation. It was there where Jeffrey Dean Morgan's villain opened up about his life prior to the apocalypse, insisting he has been helping people all along.
More specifically, "Kids," are who Negan claims to have helped the most. "You don't show them the way, they turn out like garbage," Negan said. "Little a--holes become great big ones, so you show them the way. Adults, they need it, too. The government, laws, religion, guilt. People are weak."
As it turns out, that ability to "help" people helped Negan form the Saviors and take over the Sanctuary. "I took this place and it was a damn free for all," Negan said. "A confederation of assholes. An army made up of gangs of animals. The last guy that was in charge? He wasn't in charge of shit. He allowed people to be weak. I don't, I make them strong, which makes this world strong. You're gonna see Gabey. I'm gonna make you my special project."
Later, after Gabriel questions Negan on having multiple wives within the Sanctuary, the villain reveals he had someone before the world fell. "My first wife was a real wife," Negan said. "My only real life 'til death did us part. It was before this. I lied to her. I screwed around on her. She was sick and when she went, when she went it was during this. I couldn't put her down. That is how I was weak. That is what I will confess because, yeah, maybe we do bite the big one here."
The move gives Negan something to relate to Morgan Jones on but also follows the story laid out in the Here's Negan comic book. The story sees Negan as a high school gym teacher with a wife named Lucille. In the books, the villain was cheating on his wife until she was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Though he tries to make up for lost time by abandoning his affair and spending every second with his ill wife, Lucille's death catches Negan off-guard just as the apocalypse begins to fall upon the world. As she rises from her bed as a reanimated corpse, Negan flees the hospital and leaves her to wander the world.
"That was a lot of fun," Father Gabriel actor Seth Gilliam told ComicBook.com. "It took a few days to shoot that actually because there was a lot of work that we had to do with mostly Jeffrey doing the heavy lifting on it, which was a test with his focus because it was about 115 degrees in that trailer easily with no breeze. You know, it was hot and you had to sit by it each time, and he had to go and go and go and go with his dialogue. It was fascinating for me to watch. I had like a front row seat to what I thought was a completely different side of Negan."